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ALEXAHDEB,  VO1ST HUMBOLBT.                131
and frigidity of winter ; and although on the southern
boundary of Siberia the constantly and perpendicu-
larly-falling rays of the sun must generate heat., this
has no other consequence than that a very hot sum-
mer there succeeds a very cold winter.     Bhimboldt
nowhere found finer grapes than in Astrachan, on the
coast of the Caspian  Sea;   and yet here,,   and still
further south, in Kislar, at the mouth of the Tarek, in
the same latitude as Avignon and Rimini, the cold in
winter is from 28 to 30 degrees of Celsius*' thermometer.
Btumboldt calls this great contrast between summers
heat and winter's cold a peculiarity of Siberia ; the
vines there must be buried deep in the earth in the
winter, and in summer, on account of the dry heat,
they have to be artificially refreshed by water.    As
high as the 58th degree of latitiide, Humbolclt could
ascertain the mean temperature of the localities with
tolerable accuracy from the temperature of the springs.
A little further nortR the ground remains constantly
frozen to a depth of from 12 to 15 feet., while in Norway,
which is as near if not nearer the north pole, fresh moss
and grass grow beneath the snow,  even in winter.
Humboldt had a spring dug in Bogoslawsk in the
middle of winter,  and came to  ice nine and a half
feet in thickness six feet below the surface, and it is
remarkable that, in spite of these subterranean masses
of ice, the short but powerful sximmer's heat quickly
thaws the upper crust, and produces a very abundant
All these observations, with others arising from them,
and further investigations, were combined to geologi-
cal truths of scientific importance in Humboldt's
active mind. From these causes, he solved the for-
merly inexplicable riddle, how remains of animals
whose organization belonged to a hot climate—for
example, even the mammoth.—had been found in a
state of decay m the iceblocks of these northern
regions. 3STot long since, East Indian tigers were
exhumed there, in the same latitude in which
Hamburg and Berlin lie; and it is Humboldt's
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